County ends hold on $8.5M grant for Broward Health

BrowardCounty commissioners voted 7-1 to release an $8.5 million grant for outpatient uncompensated care services to Broward Health Tuesday. The delay was imposed in response to the hospital board's controversial decision to fire interim CEO Pauline Grant over allegations she violated federal anti-kickback laws, reports Sun Sentinel

When asked why commissioners issued the grant, Commissioner Steve Geller said, "I'm not going to take [the dispute] out on the poor people of BrowardCounty."

State prosecutors have issued subpoenas to Broward Health officials for various documents related to Ms. Grant's termination. Investigators will examine records for possible Sunshine Law violations in the dismissal of a public hospital CEO.

Florida Sunshine Law is a series of statues designed to ensure the public has access to the public records or public or state governing bodies, including commission and board meetings.

"There needs to be some explanation on why a lady who has provided such exemplary service for the hospital district for so many years is basically road-kill in a political battle," Commissioner Tim Ryan told Sun Sentinel. "When a CEO is terminated without even a discussion of performance, those are very suspicious circumstances."

Broward Health Board Chairman Rocky Rodriguez defended the board's decision because it solicited the advice of outside legal counsel.

"Based on the information that we had from the attorneys and the rules, I don't know how we could have done any different," Mr. Rodriguez said. "Everybody needs to just relax. The reality is that health law is very difficult and very complex."

An independent investigation into fraud allegations issued Dec. 9 found evidence Ms. Grant "ran afoul" of anti-kickback laws when she awarded emergency room contracts to orthopedic surgeons. However, Ms. Grant has denied any truth to the fraud accusations.

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